Thanksgiving offers managers and HR professionals a wonderful opportunity to bring the team together and show appreciation for all of their contributions.
It may seem like a small gesture, but Thanksgiving office celebrations and games help employees feel more engaged with their employers and teammates.
Employee engagement has a major impact on whether employees are their most successful at work. In a major long-term study, researchers found that offices with a company culture that engaged and showed regular appreciation to their employees grew 682% in revenue over 11 years. On the other hand, teams without this strong culture of engagement grew only 166%.
In this article, we’ll outline some of our favorite office Thanksgiving ideas. Start planning one for your team today!
Nothing says Thanksgiving like an all-out comfort food extravaganza. This family-style Thanksgiving feast puts a twist on the traditional with Middle Eastern additions to the American classics.
Enjoy a spinach salad with honey pomegranate mustard dressing alongside the beloved mainstay of this homestyle holiday: roast turkey.
Don’t worry — there’s plenty of mashed potatoes and gravy, too.
The Thanksgiving feast costs $35 and can be booked directly from the Thriver marketplace.
The family-style Thanksgiving dinner can be booked directly on Thriver’s marketplace, and the vendor delivers the entire meal to you — there’s not much managers need to do to prepare for this Thanksgiving lunch idea for the office. The only things you’ll need are:
- Paper goods (knives, forks, plates, napkins, and cups)
- Decorations (if desired)
The turkey can even be carved ahead of time for an extra fee — delicious and easy!
Community Food Program
For many, giving thanks means giving back. Help your employees tap into their altruistic side by hosting a team-building volunteer opportunity at a local food bank. Your team will help pack bagged meals that will then be distributed to those in need in the local community.
This Thanksgiving work party idea is free to attend, and the payoff is priceless.
Book your service experience with the Educational Alliance on Thriver.
No supplies needed for this one!
That being said, you may consider hosting this kind of event on a weekday, or otherwise during working hours, so that employees aren’t giving up any of their hard-earned free time. You could even go the extra mile and organize a catered lunch after your volunteer hours.
Thanksgiving Host Gift Box
A gift box is a great way to show your employees that you’re thinking of them during the busy and sometimes overwhelming holiday season.
Help your employees celebrate with their families in style with a gorgeously-appointed host(ess) gift box. The box includes pumpkin bread, pumpkin butter, and a satchel of spices that can warm even the chilliest fall night.
These gift boxes cost $48 per person and can be shipped directly to your employees’ homes.
Another low-key option — no supplies needed! But be sure to plan a bit in advance here, especially if you want the gift boxes to arrive plenty in advance of Thanksgiving Day. You can expect a delivery time of about one week.
Pumpkin picking is the quintessential fall activity and is fun for children and adults alike. This is an especially exciting workplace Thanksgiving idea for teams that include many members with young families at home.
The great thing about pumpkin picking is that it can be free and totally laid-back, or ticket-based and quite involved. Many pumpkin patches also offer live music, adult beverages, delicious seasonal treats (apple cider donuts, anyone?), and other fall-themed activities like hayrides and corn mazes. There’s no limit to how you could customize this activity to fit the demographics of your team.
The supplies you need will depend on what kind of event you’re envisioning. Remind your employees to bring sweaters or picnic blankets, and make sure they’re aware of what fees they may encounter that won’t be covered on the company dime.
Cookie Decorating Class
A virtual fall cookie-decorating class is a great Thanksgiving activity for work; it will keep everyone’s spirits high as they fully embrace fall and begin to look forward to the holiday season.
Cookie kits include eight cookies in fun cut shapes — pumpkins, leaves, and turkeys, to name a few — four different colors of icing, and fun fall sprinkles. You also have the option to add pre-decorated cookies to each order as a fun surprise for your team.
A fall sugar cookie decorating class costs $85 per person, including all supplies, and can be booked directly on the Thriver marketplace.
Another easy office Thanksgiving party idea here — the vendor takes care of all supplies! You might want to make sure to have milk on hand, though. You’ll also need access to a kitchen for washing up if you plan to do the activity on-site.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels is a popular choice for community-minded people around the holidays. Give a nod to the good-naturedness of your team by gathering them for an experience with Circle of Care.
Your team members will work with Meals on Wheels to deliver meals and offer basic security and wellness checks for vulnerable residents in their area.
You don’t need to bring anything, but you should arrange ahead of time who plans to use their vehicle to deliver meals. Not everyone needs to deliver individually; in fact, carpooling for meal deliveries can be a great way to offer additional team-building time!
Larkin Street Youth Services
For teams that are limited on time, Larkin Street Youth Services offers a unique way to give back to their community.
Teams that participate in the program are provided with a list of materials the organization uses in the kits they provide to people in need. Employees can get most of these items on their weekly grocery run, so it’s a low-stakes, low-effort way to volunteer. The donations are then delivered to Larkin, who assembles and delivers the kits themselves.
In return for your time, Larkin Street Youth Services hosts an engaging and powerful Lunch and Learn for your team. The discussion focuses on education about youth homelesness.
This is a fun and educational Thanksgiving activity for work. Activity participation and the Lunch and Learn are both free of cost.
This is another activity in which employees will be donating some of their own time and money; although there are no specific supplies required (other than the materials your employees will shop for as their donation), you might consider giving back to your employees in some way — a small gift card or low-key team lunch would go a long way in showing thanks!
For the ultimate low-key Thanksgiving celebration idea for work, organize a team hike. Aim for somewhere local so that everyone who wants to join can get there, and remember that not everyone on your team will be equally physically prepared for a tough hike — prioritize inclusivity and fun over the hike with a steep climb but great view.
Team hikes can easily be free, especially if you take advantage of any local state parks. To add some flair to this team outing, you could plan to enjoy a Thanksgiving picnic feast together at the end of the hike.
Make sure you and your employees wear their sneakers or hiking boots, and dress appropriately for the weather. Layers work well for hiking. Your team will also want to pack snacks, water, and a camera for leaf-peeping.
Hot Chocolate Holiday Gift Box
This hot chocolate holiday-themed gift box is one of the handsomest we’ve ever seen.
A perfectly plaid tin of hot chocolate comes neatly packed alongside a gorgeously-wrapped package of salted caramel almond chocolate chip cookies. With a pair of cinnamon sticks to top it off, the entire set is beautifully arranged in a rustic wooden box tied with twine pine sprigs.
These hot chocolate boxes cost $68 per person.
These gift boxes can be delivered directly to your office, or to each employee’s home, so there’s not much managers need to do to arrange this one.
Want to up the ante? Nips of sweet, holiday-flavored liqueur make great stocking stuffers at your office Christmas party and go perfectly with hot cocoa. Tie a pine clipping around each so your employees know that it goes along with their gift box.
Cranberry Sauce Making Class
It wouldn’t be a proper Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce!
Treat your employees to a fun Thanksgiving party by hosting a cranberry sauce making class.
The cranberry sauce kits can be delivered to your workplace or remote employees’ homes, making it a great option for both in-person and hybrid teams. The package includes all sauce ingredients, a beautifully-printed recipe card, and a glass jar for storing the sauce.
This cranberry sauce making class costs $82 per person.
Participants will need access to a stove top and kitchen accessories.
For a unique office Thanksgiving activity, you might consider booking the services of Replate Food Rescue. This is a particularly great option for any team planning to host a team-wide Thanksgiving meal.
Replate offers a unique and impactful service to caterers, restaurants, offices with food services or frequent events, and other organizations with food surplus. For a fee, they will come pick up your excess food and deliver it directly to people with food insecurity.
You can schedule a Replate pickup for $60 directly from the Thriver website. To give back even more, chat with the Food Rescue team representative about how to get more involved with the program.
Healthy Cooking Master Class
For teammates who like to multi-task, a healthy cooking master class is a great way to help them level up their culinary and self-care skills.
Run by an award-winning nutritionist, this cooking workshop includes a digital ingredient list, a stress-reducing, energy-boosting recipe book, and hands-on virtual instructions on how to cook 2 – 3 nutrition-packed meals.
The cooking master class costs $550 per group, and participants are welcome to collaborate to choose their own menu.
Make sure your employees have access to a kitchen while they participate in the class.
Making teams feel engaged in the workplace
Although the holidays are an incredibly busy time for most teams, it’s important that managers and HR professionals carve out time to celebrate and show appreciation to their employees. Team-building goes a long way in helping employees feel engaged in their workplace, and Thanksgiving is the perfect chance to foster that feeling.